>> in 1991 through '99. but it is also focused on a larger theme which is the restructuring of u.s. foreign policy that followed the end of the cold war, and in particular the movement of u.s. foreign policy away from the theme of anticommunism after the fall of the berlin wall in 1989 to a new theme which is, i would argue, the dominant one today of humanitarian intervention. now, the theme of humanitarian intervention, you know, is a very wide spread one. as jacqueline noted, you know, it's the basic operational idea behind the safe darfur movement which advocates u.s. military intervention in the darfur region of sudan. it is also to some extent the justification for the iraq and more recently as well the afghan war. a topic of, obviously, very current importance. but really the idea of
humanitarian intervention for the post-cold war period, i would argue, was forged in the former yugoslavia. that's really where the idea was, to some extent, created at least in its modern form and was established, really, as the main justification for u.s. foreign policy. and in particular what you had was an ideological shift in the united states that attended the break up of yugoslavia and in particular the wars in bosnia herz governor any ya and kosovo where you had a group of left-leaning powers such as susan sontag, people who had a background in many cases in the antiinterventionist left, in many cases the anti-vietnam war movement, the anti-interventionist movements of the 1980s against u.s. invasion in central america and the like. but this group of intellectuals which includes some of the most distinguished in the u.s. and
western europe, shifted their view and took the position that intervention after the end of the cold war could now be viewed increasingly as a humanitarian action that seeks to protect minorities against oppression and ethnic cleansing, seeks to remove dictators, seeks to promote democracy, and it was, the view was taken by many that intervention ceased being a predatory, environment act which is how it would seen, i think, by many during the cold war and was seen as a truly altruistic act. and it was a situation in which there wasn't too much intervention. on the contrary, there wasn't enough intervention. the unwillingness or supposed unwillingness of the u.s. to become involved militarily in certain conflicts, that was seen as an act of sort of cynical rail politic whereas when the u.s. acted in 1995, in kosovo in '99, more recently in iraq, of
course, in 2003 and afghanistan as well, that was seen by many as a humanitarian action. and, again, this idea was forged to a significant degree in yugoslavia. if you ask people like paul berman or christopher hitchens why, for example, they supported the war in iraq, they will tell you that it was in the former yugoslavia that they got the idea that intervention could be a positive force. and so yugoslavia, i would see, as a central point here. and much of the humanitarian discourse that we have today -- and again, that acts as justification for the u.s., continuing u.s. intervention in the near east and persian gulf region -- much of that comes from a certain understanding of what happened in yugoslavia. i am going to argue in this talk as i argue in my book, this understanding is incorrect. the generally-accepted view of
what we know about what happened in yugoslavia is substantially wrong, all right? and, you know, we now have a great deal of new information on the yugoslav war, and in particular the new information is a vast number of memoirs by participants, reports by governments including a 6,000-page analysis by the dutch parliament, and i think most importantly the war crimes trial by the international criminal tribunal at the hague including the milosevic trial and the trial of other value can figures. at the transcripts of these trials present an unusually rich resource for understanding the origins of these wars, and i relied in particular on the prosecution witnesses primarily because they're vastly more interesting. and out of this picture comes a very different you saiding of yiewg -- understanding of yugoslavia, and i argue that foreign intervention in
yugoslavia did not solve the humanitarian problem. on the contrary, it helped to create the problem in the first place. i argue it led to the break up of yugoslavia which i point out was caused at least in part by intervention by foreign powers, and that it helped spread violence and intensify the violence in places like bosnia and later coats slow. vote slow. okay? now, let me note a number of points. my study is primarily a study of foreign intervention in yugoslavia. i do not dispute that internal factors were extremely important. i deal with those internal factors. nevertheless, i argue that apart from the internal factors, the external intervention by foreign powers was critically important in making the war possible and then expanding the violence. as a general point, my critique of humanitarian intervention is
that the -- it underrates the possibility that interventions can actually make the problem worse. if you read interventionist literature and in particular i focus on the widely influential book by samantha power, "a problem from hell: america and the anal of genocide," there's an assumption that intervention will only act to improve human rights. there's no consideration given for the possibility that intervention by military force itself will cause a great deal of damage and take many lives, as inevitably it will, nor is there much consideration beginning to the possibility that -- given to the possibility that it can intense phi the violence that it was supposedly trying to stop. and i point out that in yugoslavia that's exactly what happened.
okay. for the rest of the talk, or most of the rest of the talk, i'm going to focus upon one chapter of the book which is the chapter on kosovo. i'm not going to deal with the other parts of the book which deal with the other yugoslav wars, again, to leave some time for questions and, you know, to keep it manageable. and i should add that kosovo, the kosovo intervention of 1999 whereby nato went to war for ten weeks against the republic of serbia allegedly to protect the people of kosovo from serbian aggression. this intervention in its tenth anniversary in 2009, is also often cited as the most exemplary case of humanitarian intervention. it is seen by many americans, democrats and republicans, as the good war, okay? to some extent it's seen as a
welcome contrast to the iraq war which is, you know, increasingly viewed in a negative light, and also i should add the afghan war which is going very badly, indeed. and in light of these less satisfactory examples of humanitarian intervention, there's an effort to focus upon kosovo as a case in which intervention really worked. it is viewed widely as a case where the unite acted with -- united states acted with essentially clean motives, with altruistic motives, without any ulterior motives in terms of getting access to oil, a strategic advantage. it was seen as a case where war was taken only as a last resort after possibilities for diplomacy were exhausted where milosevic made it clear he would not -- and in the sense that it restrained the aggressors, it protected the ethnic albanians
who were being oppressed and generally resolved the problem. i'm going to argue that based upon the evidence all of these points are essentially incorrect. first, a bit of background. kosovo was a province of yugoslavia. it was a, within the communist yugoslav state. it was an autonomous province of the republic of serbia. and it was for a very long time, essentially dominated by serbia. internally, kosovo consists of mostly two groups, the ethnic albanian majority which at the time of the nato war were approximately 85-90% of the total population, and a serb minority. again, at the time of the war approximately 10-15% of the population. the two groups had a history of
largely negative interactions, the serb historically being the privileged group, the better educated, the more affluent group, the albanians being one of the poorest groups in the former yugoslavia and, indeed, all of europe. under communist yugoslavia it was essentially the serbs who were dominant in the province and the republic of serbia that dominated the province. there was significant discrimination against the albanian majority, and it must be said as a general point the albanians had legitimate historical grievances. in 1966 the communist government of yugoslavia under tito engineered a major change of policy, and in this new policy the albanians were privileged. new funds were given to the albanians for instruction in albanian and local schools,
major federal funds were given to try and alleviate poverty among the albanian majority. and the local albanians were given effective authority in the local communist party. and essentially from 1966 to 1989 it was the albanians who were dominant. and in the context of this dominance, the albanians began to a large extent beginning to get reverge on the secs and -- serbs. there was, you know, in general neither group -- the albanians nor the serbs -- were willing to show much mercy to the other, and now that the albanians were the dominant group, they used their position to victimize the serbs. so now the secs were the victims. there was a large flight of serbs from kosovo. some of this was economic flight because there are better jobs in the reprick of -- republic of
serbia, some was also fleeing harassment by the albanians. in the 1980s as the albanian harassment increased, there was increasing talk of ethnically cleansing the serbs, indeed, some of the first talk was by the albanian majority in kosovo. i emphasize this very complex hillary partly -- history partly because there's a general perception that the serbs were the victimizers, but the history is much more complicated than that. and, indeed, both sides have a history of victimizing each other to some extent. in 1989 a major change occurred when milosevic, then the president of the republic of serbia, a very opportunistic politician was looking for an issue on which to establish his
popularity among the serbs and found that issue in protecting the serb minority in kosovo. and used his authority, basically, to establish a state of martial law in kosovo and to end kosovo's autonomy. and kosovo then basically became under serb dominance once again after 1989. the tables were turned, it was now the serbs who were the victimizers, the albanians were the victims. and, you know, the albanians had largely lost all that they had gained after 1966. when yugoslavia broke up in 1991, kosovo remained an autonomous province of serbia, still essentially under martial law by the serbs. and increasingly, a movement for independence of kosovo emerged
among albanians, and there was no doubt that the vast majority offal albanians wanted independe which is quite natural given the circumstances. initially, this movement was led by a figure who advocated nonviolence as a technique modeling himself on martin luther king and gandhi, but by mid '90s another group began emerging which broke with the idea of nonviolence and insisted upon armed insurgency as a technique of liberation. the kosovo liberation army are particularly important because these were the group essentially that became america's allies during the 1999 war. although generally speaking they are present inside a positive light -- presented in a positive light, we now know basically they had negative features, and in particular the basic strategy of the kla was to attack serb civilians and policemen in isolated areas as a means of provoking the serbs into
retaliatory actions and, thus, leading to massacres to inflame world public opinion. we know this because it comes from the very best sources, in particular western officials repeatedly cited the kla as a terrorist organization. in fact, a series of western powers up until 1998 classified the kla as a terrorist organization for the simple reason that it engaged in deliberate attacks against noncombatants. and again, we have it from some of the key prosecution witnesses at the milosevic trial, a member of parliament and a key figure in the diplomacy was a major witness against mill milosevic. and we have this exchange. it was a well-known fact that this was a terrorist organization. >> mr. milosevic, i never denied this was a terrorist organization. >> and so this was repeatedly acknowledged as a basic point of
fact. in private western officials acknowledged there wasn't morally much difference between the two sides. the memoirs of tony blair's press secretary, alistair campbell, noted that in private tony blair acknowledged that there really was no basic moral difference between the two sides, they were essentially the same. and in parliamentary hearings after the 1999 war, the british minister of defense, lord george robertson, stated that up until shortly before the nato bombing, up until january 1999, quote, the kla were responsible for more deaths in kosovo than the serb authorities had been. so the image of this is a simple conflict in which it was, you know, the serbs were doing all of the aggression, and the albanians were the victims simply is not accurate, okay? and there's very little doubt, i should add, that one of the objectives of the kla was to
ethnically cleanse the serbs something they ultimately achieved, to a significant degree, once they won the war. there was an uptick in fighting in 1997, or i should add shortly after 1997, because of a breakdown in civil order in neighboring republic of albanian. it meant that the arms supplies were open, and there was an enormous supply of weapons into kosovo which abled the kla to begin a major armed insurgency, and really by 1998 full-scale civil war had commenced, and the kla used their well-established technique of attacking civilians and policemen. the serbs engaged in brutal attacks against villages that supported the kla. and leading to major atrocities and acts of ethnic cleansing. but, again, it's important to note this was true of both sides
and was at least as equally true of the kla as it was the serb forces. in late 1998 the united states tried to broker a diplomatic settlement to the fighting, and it dispatched richard holbrooke, a top dip diplomat with experiee dealing with the fall can problem, to try and impose a settlement. and in october the holbrook agreement, as it was known, was announced. the serbs agreed to withdraw most of their offensive forces from kosovo and establish a cease-fire. they also agreed to allow a peace-keeping force in the organization for security and cooperation of europe to observe the cease fire. this was an asymmetrical agreement because it imposed no requirements at all on the kla, only on the serbs.
milosevic accepted it, nonetheless. the monitors were deployed, and the cease fire was declared. now, it was widely claimed after the 1999 nato bombing attack that it was the serbs who violated the agreement and led to the breakdown of the agreement on the upsurge in fighting. and that's what caused the upsurge in fighting that led to the nato attack. we now know that that's false. that, in fact, it was not the serbs, it was the kla, and we have it from the very best sources. one of them is a german general who played a key role in the war. he was actually present at the, some of the events that led to the holbrooke agreement. he was also a key prosecution witness against milosevic at the war crimes trial, and at the trial under prodding he acknowledged that the serbs basically implemented the terms of the holbrooke agreement in good faith, they withdrew their troops as required, they
announced -- they implemented a cease fire, and it was kla attacks, basically, that led to the breakdown of the agreement. he stated this repeatedly, not only at the milosevic trial, but also at interviews at a british parliamentary hearing and also the bbc. the bbc independently on taind minutes of the decision-making body of nato in which the head reported that most of the violations of the cease fire were by the kla, not by the serbs, okay? so it's very clear that the breakdown of the holbrooke agreement was due to the kla. this is not to whitewash the serbs because they did many terrible things in kosovo, it's merely to state fact. okay? the serb response to the kla attacks was publicly to urge the united states to use its influence to restrain the kla. the united states simply ignored the request, and the kla
continued their attacks. the serbs then responded with a massive counteroffensive. they took off the gloves, as one witness put it, and attacked the kla with full force leading to a series of massacres culminating in the well-publicized massacre in the town of rat chuck in which 48 people were killed. the circumstances of the massacre were probably exaggerated by u.s. officials, they claimed that not only were the people killed, but they were tortured and dismembered. that isn't true. forensic investigations revealed they weren't tortured or disfigured. and, nevertheless, it does appear there had been a masser. -- massacre. it was not an armed confrontation as the serbs claimed, and this was widely publicized as example of an atrocious action by the serbs, which undoubtedly it was. the united states then worked with europe to call a major peace conference in february of
1999 for a full settlement of the kosovo conflict. it took place in the castle outside of paris. it was officially chaired by the foreign ministers of france and britain, though behind the scenes the u.s. clearly played a dominating role. and the united states and its european allies put before both sides essentially a predetermined agreement that is quite complex, but in essence what it demanded was that these, the serbs would have to agree to full regional autonomy for kosovo, not ip dependence. independence at this point was ruled out. full regional acon themy for -- awe on theny for kosovo, an end, basically, to the repressive measures that had been instituted by milosevic in 1989, and an armed peace-keeping force would supervise the implementation of these measures for an extended period of time.
again, the conference eventually broke down without an agreement, and u.s. and european officials claimed that the breakdown was caused by serb intransigents including, for example, samantha power and her book that milosevic never seriously considered an agreement and resisted all reasonable measures to bring them aboard and that nato only engaged in military action after the serb intransigence was on full display. once again, we have evidence and the best sources that this was truly not the case. we have an account from a cambridge university academic, a professor of law, who acted as an adviser to the albanian delegation, and he said that the serbs had accepted most of the political demands put on them. madeleine albright said the same thing. her press secretary, james
reuben, in an account after the war also acknowledged the serbs had, in fact, accepted most or almost all of the political demands put on them. they seemed to have been negotiating in good faith, it would appear. the only point of disagreement was on the peace-keeping force. the u.s. demanded that the peace-keeping force would have to be directed by nato whereas the serbs insisted it should be u.n. directed, they didn't trust nato. it seemed likely that that disagreement could be overcome since the serbs accepted in principle the idea of an armed force to oversee the implementation of the accords. and it looked like a full agreement could have been achieved. what caused the agreement to break down was a new demand put forward by the negotiating powers, probably by the united states, at the very end of the conference.
and this new demand was that the peace-keeping force would not only have the right to occupy kosovo, but it would have full right to occupy all of serbia, okay? this was a totally new demand, one that was later acknowledged would have certainly been unacceptable to the serbs. and after this demand was put forth, the serbs seemed to lose all interest in the negotiations, and there was a complete breakdown of negotiating interests after this event, okay? now, this is called the military annex or annex b as it was proposed. why did the united states put forth this demand? okay? after the war was over, u.s. and western officials acknowledged the demand had been put forth but insisted it was a harmless detail, that if the serbs had insisted, they would have removed it. it may have been a blunder,
undiplomatically worded, but it wasn't a major problem and couldn't really have caused the breakdown of talks, okay? this seems to me doubtful, all right? the person who played a major role in drafting the military annex was wesley clark, he admits this in his memoirs, who was known to be very meticulous and is not one to make obvious errors of this sort, i think. he's not a fool. he, generally speaking, knows what he's doing, i think. henry kissinger, you know, later said that the document put forth was a terrible document. the serbs could never have accepted it, i'm paraphrasing him, but that's the gist of what he said. and finally, we now have what i would consider to be a smoking gun. after the war was over in parliamentary hearings there was testimony from lord john gilbert who was the number two figure in the british defense ministry during the war responsible for intelligence, but a major role
in the war. he testified at length about the war in 2000 the, supporting the war, and when he was asked about the military annex, he had this to say: i think certain people were spoiling for a fight in nato at that time. we were at a point when some people felt something had to be done against serbia, so you just provoked a fight. with regard to the peace terms themselves, gilbert said, quote, i think the terms put to milosevic were absolutely intolerable. how could he possibly accept them? it was quite deliberate. now, the operative phrase here, ladies and gentlemen, is it was quite deliberate. okay? so this is not an accident, all right? this was put forth to milosevic with knowledge that this was going to be unacceptable, that milosevic could not possibly have accepted these terms. no leader in a similar situation could have reasonably been accepted to -- excepted to accept terms that humiliating, and this was done with
intelligent. i would take this as likely evidence that the united states was seeking to undermine the ram pew yea peace talks, okay? certainly, it had that effect. and right after this was presented, serbia lost all interest in the peace talks leading directly to the breakdown of the peace talks and, ultimately, the war. so i think it's incorrect, it is a myth to say -- as many have -- that the united states and the ben powers used all reasonable peens to achieve a diplomatic solution and only went to war when a diplomatic solution was impossible. on the contrary, a diplomatic solution was made impossible according to the record of events as i see it. in any case, the breakdown led to western preparations for war, and the chronology is very interesting. on march 19th, shortly after the breakdown of negotiations, the
osce monitors began to withdraw on the assumption that bombing was coming, and they didn't want to be injured. the very next day serbia began a major offensive in kosovo. leading to ugly atrocities. the bombing actually commenced on march 24th leading to an intensification of serb atrocities much worse than the previous round of as atrocities, and over the next ten weeks about 10,000 albanians were killed by the serb security forces, okay? this is a significant figure because up until this time the total number of casualties on both sides, both military and civilian, serb and albanian was 2,000, all right? how many albanians had been killed has never been fully accounted for. i would estimate it was probably a little under a thousand since the albanians, it seems, accounted for fewer victims according to lord robertson than the serbs. and over the next ten weeks about 10,000 were killed meaning
that probably the increase in deaths was about tenfold. and this, this was in a ten week period as opposed to about a year and a half or at least over a year in which the war had been leading to killings previously. so there was a huge increase in atrocities that were directly connected with the bombing. some american officials have dismissed any link, and they've insisted that, for example, the serbs had begun the atrocities before the bombing, but what this ignores is the fact that the atrocities began on march 20th which is the day after the osce began announcing its withdrawal when bombing was clearly imminent, okay? so as i would see it, there's a very clear and direct connection between nato military action and the ratcheting up of atrocities that occurred. now, before i go into the circumstances of the war itself and how the war played out, i'd like to discuss u.s. motives for
war. now, i would say a major u.s. mote i for war -- mote i have for war with regard to all of the interventions in the foreman yugoslavia was a major anxiety about america's position in the world after the end of the cold war. when the cold war was over, there was, obviously, an ebullience among u.s. officials that they had achieved this. but at the same time there was a recognition that the major justification for u.s. power, which was fighting communism, had disappeared. and there was concern that now there was really no longer a good justification for u.s. military power. either in terms of the vast number of overseas u.s. military bases or in terms of the fleets around the world or in terms of u.s. security alliance such as nato or in terms of the u.s. military budget by way of justifying it to the u.s. public.
and so the question was, what would replace anticommunism as a sort of central guiding logic for u.s. power after the end of the cold war? and no obvious solution presented it. in particular there was a fear that europe might establish an independent foreign policy and, indeed, european official thes were talking openly about the need to establish independent foreign policy independent from the u.s. and independent from nato, okay? and were openly collaborating to establish a european military force that was separate from nato. in addition, there were efforts at the financial level to establish european independence that culminated in the launching of the euro in january of 1999. as a united currency of at least some of the members of the european union. the launching was seen to have not only economic, but also political significance which is that it would be a challenge to the u.s. dollar. all of this was seen in threatening terms by the united
states. and a major u.s. objective during the 1990s was to come up with a new, new purpose for nato because it was felt nato was the main institution through which america could establish its dominance over europe. if nato could be revived and have a new logic and a new rationale, america would be b better placed to prevent europe from establishing the feared and dreaded independent foreign policy. to a large extent, this u.s./european tension which existed throughout the 1990s played out as an arena in former yugoslavia. europe tried to establish its credentials to act as an independent power in yugoslavia, america tried to establish its dominance in yugoslavia as well. and there was a certain adversarial relationship between europe and america. and in particular this very, this intense american concern was heightened during the 1998 and 1999.
by the launching of the euro which actually took place in january of a 0e -- '99. and also there was concern about european anger over seeming american arrogance in an effort to dominate previous interventions, particularly in boss any ya. even great britain was now showing interest in the possibility of an independent foreign policy, a very alarming development from the standpoint of the united states. so i think what you have here to a large extent was american efforts to use a new war in kosovo as a context in which to draw the allies together for a moral crusade under american leadership in a way that would give a new relevance to nato. 1999 was to be the 50th anniversary year for nato, symbolically very important, and also the u.s. wanted to change
nato's charter to give nato an ability to act not only in europe, but to act out of area. in other words, to defend western interests outside of europe and potentially any part of the world. and they wanted to do this in the context of a successful war. now, initially kosovo was seen as a distraction from these larger issues, but i think by early 1999 a consensus emerged within the united states establishment that kosovo wasn't a distraction from the larger problems america faced, it was a solution to these larger problems. that if america could have a war under its guidance, a successful war, one that would be perceived in a positive light, it would give a truly new relevance to nato, reaffirm its relevance in its 50th anniversary, and enable the united states to push through this new strategic concept to give nato worldwide scope. all key u.s. objectives, all eventually achieved, i should add. there was some resistance from
the military, in particular the ground army feared a ground war and a new vietnam. however, the military was divided to some degree because the air force was enthusiastic about intervention in kosovo, but the other services were not so enthusiastic. but the air force seemed to have favored intervention. also to some extent it appears the business community was positive about a war at this time, and an article in barron's investment weekly noted that the business community in general saw the kosovo war in a positive light. so a consensus emerge inside the u.s. that a war would have a positive effect. and i should add the nato factor was mentioned repeatedly in the memoirs of top u.s. officials as a major u.s. motive. so again, it's a myth to say that the u.s. had no interest except humanitarian ones in this case. there were clear concrete interests in kosovo, all right,
that were consistent with u.s. policy and openly acknowledged in memoirs of top u.s. officials. in any case, the united states did go to war, it directed a nato war against serbia. however, it made clear that it was in charge of the war and that 70% of the sortees were flown by u.s. aircraft, the ore nato powers account collectively for the other 30% again establishing without any question it was the u.s. who was guiding this war. europe was, to some extent, humiliated by the fact that their ability to participate in this war was quite limited. they simply lacked the technology and the wherewithal to carry it out. but again, that was consistent with u.s. objectives to establish u.s. dominance. however, the united states ran into significant problems which is the serbs prepared for this war by consulting with the iraqi military and getting advice from them on how to better use their antiaircraft weapons. and the serbs made an effective
defense and were able to pose threats to low-flying nato aircraft, and nato had to fly 15,000 feet which reduced the effectiveness of its bombing. and as a result of this, there was no quick serb capitulation. nato was very frustrated by this because they expected the serbs would capitulate in just a matter of days, they didn't. nato's response to this was twofold. first of all, there was a ratcheting up of the intensity of the bombing, and increasingly, civilian targets were hit. and there was no question that had the serbs not capitulated when they did, the u.s. was prepared to start destroying the cities of serbia on a massive scale. you know, the war itself had fairly limited effects, the total number of civilians killed ranged from -- estimates vary, but the range was from 500-2,000. a large number or small number depends on how you look at it. only, compared to world war ii
or korea, it was much smaller. the united states, however, was prepared to lift its restraint if serbia didn't come to techs and -- temples and was prepared to begin much more intensive bombing. and it was gradually over time demonstrating its potential to do so. so one response was intensity of bombing was increased. the second response was to increase public relations, and claims were made that the serbs had been, had killed 100,000 people or even in some estimates even higher than 100,000 people. this was not claimed directly. secretary of defense cohen said 100,000 albanians have disappeared and may have been killed. the press picked it up and reported as killed. there's no question this was an overstatement, the current estimates are in the range of 10,000 which is a terrible number, but it's one-tenth the figure that was claimed. another claim was that the serbs had a long standing plan to
murder or expel the albanians and that they would have done so even if there had been no bombing and the nato bombing had come just in time to prevent this. specifically, the german defense ministry working with the u.s. leaked reports that they had discovered an operational horseshoe which was a firm plan to ethnicically cleanse virtually the entire albanian population that had been b established well in advance of the nato bombing and that it would have been done even if there were no bombing, okay? this was widely disseminated and served to increase anger at the serbs. when the war was over, the german defense ministry was shown to have had really no evidence for this operation horseshoe, all right? retired german general wrote a book and was interviewed by the london times saying to a large extent the whole thing was a fake. but, you know, those facts
weren't known during the war. only after the war did this come out. in any case, again, i want to emphasize the atrocities the serbs did commit were terrible, but they were significantly exaggerated as kind of a public relations strategy. in any case, the serbs did capitulate on june 10th, they pretty much aggrade to nato's terms. nato, i should add, did not insist that all of serbia had to be occupied. they withdrew that requirement. that was quietly withdrawn. but otherwise the serbs pretty much agreed to all the terms that were demanded which weren't that different from the ones the serbs had mostly agreed to previously. and nato deployed the kosovo force which was a peace-keeping force to oversee implementation. initially, i should add, no
independence for kosovo was contemplated. indeed, a security council resolution from 1998 established that kosovo would remain part of serbia. however, once the nato forces were fielded, the kla effectively was put in charge of kosovo by the nato forces, and they proceeded to mete out revenge against the serbs. and other the next -- over the next several months, between 400-700 serbs were murdered directly under the nose of nato. and most of the serbs -- not quite all of them, but most of the serbs were ethnically cleansed. it's estimated over the next several months nearly a quarter of a million people, mostly serbs and roma, were expelled or left voluntarily in quotes from kosovo. even those who left voluntarily were surely influenced by the
murders and other attacks taking place during this period. and there's still, i should add, a serb minority in kosovo. i think it's in the range of 100-150,000 although a majority of the serbs have been, have been essentially expelled from kosovo. ironically, this was a war that set to establish that ethnic cleansing is an inadmissible means of settling conflict. nevertheless, after the war was over, the albanians did precisely that, they ethnically cleansed not all, but most of the serbs. well, so let's look at the basic effects of the war. now, in any humanitarian intervention, surely the main issue to be raised is what effect did it have on the humanitarian situation? by any reasonable standard i would say the effect was quite negative in this case at a number of different levels.
first of all, the level of atrocities in terms of killing and ethnic cleansing increased tremendously after the nato air attacks. far from restraining the serb atrocities, the nato air attacks seemed to have tremendously increased them which is a not-surprising and predicted event. the joint chiefs of staff warned president clinton that there was a distinct possibility that the serbs would end gauge in revenge killings, and that's exactly what happened. the chronology strongly suggests that this was a direct effect of nato bombing, and, you know, the effect was substantial. there really is no evidence that the serbs had any firm plan to ethnically cleanse the entire albanian population despite claims to the contrary. they certainly did a great deal of ethnic cleansing, by some accounts as much as 90% of the albanian population had been
displaced in one form or another by the end of the war, but most of this had occurred during the period of the nato bombing, okay? so the level of as toes greatly -- atrocities greatly increased. the nato bombing by itself did a great deal of killing. the estimates both serbs as well as albanians ranges from 500,000 to 2,000 -- correction, 500-2,000. now, u.s. officials have said this is a reasonable and low number of casualties, but that depends how you look at it. even if we accept the lower figure of 500, then it's reasonable to say that the total number of civilians killed by the nato bombing was about the same number of albanians who had been killed by serb attacks preceding the bombing, okay? let's not forget the total number of deaths up until the bombing for the whole war was 2,000, all right? the total number of albanians again has never been properly
estimated, but it probably was in the range of 500, i would say. it couldn't have been much higher than that because the total number of everybody killed was 2,000, right? so that's a second effect, was direct deaths from the bombing itself. and third one must also take into account the revenge killing that took place by the albanians and the revenge ethnic cleansing which nato seems to have done remarkably little to stop that occurred after the end of the bombing. based on all these factors, i think it's reasonable to say that the effect of this humanitarian intervention was to greatly worsen the situation from the humanitarian standpoint. far from resolving the problem, it made it worse, okay? so the basic judgment i make is a very negative one with regard to the this particular intervention. now, in conclusion i want to know note that this is only one episode in the break up of yugoslavia. in my book i deal with other aspects and areas, most notably
in bosnia which had some significant similarities, i would say, where western and particular u.s. intervention made the problem much worse than it had been before. and, indeed, i would argue the whole problem was created by western intervention which encouraged the break up of yugoslavia. surely there were many reasons for it, including domestic ones, but i think there's clear evidence that a decisive element was foreign intervention that made the break up possible. now, i think that, you know, this really has to be a major lesson for us because, again, when you hear people advocating for future humanitarian interventions in places like, for example, darfur or burma or zimbabwe, often yugoslavia, look at yugoslavia when the united states used military force in bosnia and, more importantly, in kosovo it resolved the problem. it should have the same effect with regard to places like darfur. that logic doesn't follow. as we've seen, the effect was
not positive in kosovo, and i think we have very good reason to think darfur would have the same effects. this was argued in a book called "saviors and survivors," which argues very much against intervention in darfur, that it would cause many of the same problems i've identified. people often forget that intervention is a form of war, and war has tremendous potential to do damage and to kill that's often forgotten. the save darfur movement, let us forget, as pointed out is not a call for peace, it is a call for war, and we should be very careful when we call for war recognizing the tremendous risks of damage that can be caused by war and has, in fact, occurred in places like kosovo. so i think, basically, you know, my basic verdict on humanitarian intervention is the lack of accountability. it's very easy for intellectuals to advocate for military intervention just in places.
the question is, what if it makes it worse? kosovo isn't the only case. let us not forget iraq which also was justified, in part, as humanitarian intervention to liberate the iraqi people. many intellectuals justified it in precisely those terms, yet the effective intervention in iraq was a disaster. it took a situation that was bad under saddam hussein and made it much worse. afghanistan. certainly in a very bad situation under the taliban who were doing some very terrible things, and the situation now is probably a great deal worse with no end in sight. under the taliban at the very least there was security, at least, for most of the country. now there's a generalized insecurity that seems to be getting worse, not better. okay? so again, there's, there's lack of consideration for the potential of humanitarian intervention to do tremendous harm, okay? another problem with humanitarian intervention is cost. acts of war are extremely expensive. in the case of yugoslavia, it
was relatively cheap, a mere tens of billions of dollars. the current estimate for the long-term cost of war in iraq is about $3 trillion. okay? that's from george -- excuse me, linda bilmes of harvard. three trillion is their best estimate as a long-term cost of the war. for afghanistan i haven't seen any estimates, but also, undoubtedly, would have to be at least in the hundreds of billions, and if it goes on much longer, it could b be in the trillions like iraq. let's not forget, if we spend the money on intervention, there'll be less money available for such things as disease eradication or efforts to combat global warming. there are many easy and inexpensive things that can be done that are easy to do and carry little risk. for example, increasing aids program to protect people against aids in africa. which is chronically
underfunded. it gets relatively little anticipation or funding when compared to things like humanitarian intervention, and my question is why? if there's such an urgent need for prevention in darfur, why isn't there a need to increase aids spending in africa? i think the short answer is two reasons, one is that it does not benefit vested interests including those associated with u.s. power, and for some reason it just doesn't seem exciting enough. to intellectuals who advocate these types of policies. i guess moral crusades involving war just seem more exciting than boring things like disease eradication, but perhaps what we need is to put the money and the effort and our attention into things that work and things that don't really carry much risk of making the situation worse. and finally, before we save darfur or save afghanistan in
the way that we supposedly saved kosovo, perhaps we should consider let's not make the situation worse. in medicine there's a basic point that before you take action, make sure the action doesn't make the disease worse than before. first, do no harm. we must accept that we can't cure all diseases, and we can't cure all conflicts, but at least let's not make it worse. first, do no harm. that's my final conclusion. thank you. [applause] >> i believe we're going to go ahead and open it up for questions and answers, so if anyone has a question they'd like to address to professor gibbs, please, let me know, and i'll bring the microphone to you. you have your hand raised, will you stand up, please? >> my question is referring to your point that after the cold war the u.s. needed something else to do with its military, so it needed humanitarian.
i sort of thought that the war on drugs filled that role, and i'm wondering if the war on drugs maybe fills that role in a different geographical region, latin america? where humanitarian intervention doesn't seem to play a role or what's your thought on that? and actually, if you want to, if you wanted to work in honduras, that would be a great thing too. thanks. >> okay. you know, it's a good point. i don't want to suggest humanitarians are the only justification for u.s. foreign policy. obviously, there are others, the war on drugs, clearly, is one. another, obviously, after 9/11 is, of course, terrorism. at the same time, i would say at least during the 1990s and to some extent even today humanitarian intervention really is the dominant one even now, perhaps arguably even more so than terrorism or at least equal to it. one of the arguments one hears again and again with regard to afghanistan and, again, let's be
very clear -- american troops are not in large numbers fighting the war on drugs the way they are fighting in afghanistan and iraq. the main focus of the u.s. now is primarily afghanistan and iraq. that's perfectly straightforward. and what's the justification for it? in afghanistan the justification we hear again and again is that we have to protect women and girls from the, you know, actions of the taliban. we have to let the girls go to school, for example. and, you know, it's a very, it's an argument that pulls at your heart strings and among reasonable people at least in the west very few would dispute the fact that, you know, it's a good thing that women and girls be protected from, you know, attacks by people like the taliban, and the taliban are, generally speaking, an ugly political group. i think most of us would agree on that. and it's a very effective argument for war. and that's the main argument, at least that i'm hearing right now. the humanitarian need to help the afghan people, particularly
women and girls, but the afghan people more generally, protect themselves against the taliban. but at what price? is the cure worse than the disease? i think it's starting to look like that in afghanistan. and so, you know, in short i think that, you know, and there was a great need to find a new function for u.s. power after the end of the cold war, to find some new organizing principle to replace the idea of the war against communism. and there were a number of solutions to that problem. and humanitarian intervention was one among several, but i would argue it's the dominant one. at least it's the one i'm seeing most often, for example, in the opinion section of the new york times. >> it would have been easy for you to go with the usual account of yugoslavia's break up, and i commend you for the research you did. you must have done it with an open mind to look outside the box.
my question is about the introduction. you know, it alluded to your views about public opinion, and i'd like you to just clarify that a little better, expand on that because i think whether it's iraq, whether it's the taliban or saddam or whatever, even in yugoslavia to demonize a group is effective -- you have to, almost, in a democracy to get public opinion. it still is important to justify a bombing or get people to support it. >> all right, yes. i agree as a general point, and, you know, jacqueline shark key in her introduction everyone sidessed the issue of the lack of involvement by the public. and i think a basic problem you have in foreign crises in yugoslavia and darfur and afghanistan is really most people don't know very much about these places which is perfectly understandable. the situation is complicated. it is difficult to get good information on it. and i think there's often an effort to try and get a very
syrup l story, and a simple story that's often told is villains and heros, basically, or villains and victims, i think is a better one. and in the case of yugoslavia, all of the blame was placed on the serbs. it must be said the serbs did some terrible things, and they did commit war atrocities since they had most of the weapons. they were better armed. although it must be said all of the groups committed terrible atrocities. when they had the opportunity, the non-serb groups did basically the same thing as the serbs did, though admittedly on a smaller scale because they had fewer weapons. but the story was simplified that it was all the serbs' fault. all of the aggressive acts were caused by the serbs, and as we've seen in the case of kosovo, that's simply not true. but that's how it was presented because the public responds much
better to a simple story, and the need to keep it simple is very important. another feature that's striking to me is the personalization of conflict, that we were not fighting with any degree of complexity, we were fighting gwen a single evil -- against a single evil, slobodan milosevic. and all the problems in iraq were caused by a single individual, saddam hussein. i think there's an effort in sudan as a single individual is the cause of the problem. not to whitewash the actions of these people all of whom were, indeed, criminal persons who did very criminal things, but to suggest that certainly the case of yugoslavia there were many villains, and this was a very complex war which cannot be reduced to single personalities. but never the less, there was an effort to simplify it by reducing it to single personalities because that plays much better in public relations terms. what's very striking is not that